Prospect's boys basketball team showed its ability to leave a disappointing loss in the rearview mirror Wednesday.
Less than 24 hours after a 66-58 loss against Notre Dame, the Knights led nearly wire-to-wire in a 64-58 consolation victory over Loyola Academy in the 33rd Annual Wheeling Wildcat Hardwood Classic.
Prospect will play St. Viator, a 62-37 winner over host Wheeling, at 3:45 p.m. today with fifth place at stake.
"This was a bounce-back game," said Mike LaTulip, who scored 13 of his game-high 19 points in the first quarter. "It's really big. We can be 1-3 or 3-1, depending on how you respond."
The Knights responded like coach John Camardella thought they would.
"It was a tough emotional loss (Tuesday)," Camardella said. "I told the kids to respond, and they did."
It all started with LaTulip pouring in 5 baskets including 3 3-pointers, as the Knights built a 16-11 lead after the first quarter.
"I was very surprised they came out in a zone," Camardella said. "We handled it very well."
And when the Ramblers (5-7) changed defenses, shadowing LaTulip's every move for the rest of the game, teammates Matt Loebbaka (16 points), Grant DePalma (8) and reserves Will Botefuhr (6) and Brad Reibel (4 points, 7 assists) picked up the slack.
"We were disappointed how it ended (against Notre Dame)," Loebbaka said. "It's good how we responded and got the win."
The Knights led 32-29 at halftime and 45-41 after three quarters. Loebbaka scored 9 points in the fourth quarter, including 5 of 6 from the line. In the final 8 minutes, the Knights (7-4) were 11-for-16 from the line, which helped stave off Loyola's long-range shooting.
Peter Pujals (14 points) made 2 of his 4 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, which helped keep the Ramblers in the game. As a team, Loyola made 10 3-pointers but missed its only free throw attempt.
Prospect led by as many as 7 points in the final minutes of the game, but Pujals and Mike Lang (15 points before fouling out) answered each Prospect score with baskets of their own, cutting the lead to 59-56 with 1:20 remaining.
Danny O'Brien's steal and layup with 28 seconds left following his made free throw gave Prospect a 62-56 lead and sealed the victory.